A short rant from a grammar nerd

I’ve always called myself a grammar nazi, but I think grammar nerd (as my boyfriend called me the other night) is more accurate. I make my fair share of typos and grammatical errors when texting or IMing. I often skip words when posting a Facebook status, because I type too fast. When I’m speaking to friends I will say “youse” from time to time. I’m also not going to bark at someone whose posts and messages are riddled with errors. I’m just not going to read them. If you can’t take the time to write something coherently, I’m not going to take the time to decipher it.

I think a lot of those things disqualify me as a grammar nazi. I do, however, have quite a few grammar related pet peeves. These are what I am going to share about today.

  1. I love Steven Tyler, and I think that he’s an awesome addition to American Idol (we’ll save my shameful American Idol addiction for another day), but I cringe every time he says, “You sing good.” Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb.
  2. Every time I take a taxi cab I try to avoid sitting on the side with the credit card machine. I’m irritated each time it flashes, “Trips over $25 requires a signature.” A similar story: My daughter’s recent math homework consisted of filling in blanks to make number sentences. “_____ and _____ makes 8.” There’s not much I can do about the lack of subject/verb agreement on the credit card machine, but I really wanted to take a red pen to my kid’s homework!
  3. Last night I went out to dinner at Chickie’s and Pete’s. The restaurant belongs to both Chickie and Pete. There are not two different restaurants in question. Because of that, only Pete requires the possessive.
  4. Irregardless. I don’t think I need to say anything else.
  5. One of my biggest pet peeves that so many people seem to have a problem with is the difference between then and than. I walked down the street and then went to the store where the generic brands were cheaper than the name brands. Then refers to an order of time. You do this, and then you do that. Than compares two things. I like this better than I like that.
  6. Another really common one is the difference between affect and effect. Effect is a noun. Affect is a verb. The effect of staying up all night is sleeping half the day away. My ability to wake up early was affected by staying up all night.
  7. Then, of course, there’s homonym confusion. I could probably write an entire blog on that alone! The easy ones get on my nerves the most . . . two/to/too, your and you’re, there/their/they’re, etc. When it comes to contractions, the easiest way to tell if you’re using the correct form is to separate the contraction. I could have just written, “the easiest way to tell if you are . . . . “ If I say, “your puppy is cute,” however, I cannot change that to, “you are puppy is cute.”

I think that about covers it. I am sure there are more, but I’ll stick with these for now. I would love to hear from other grammar nerds. If you fit that description, please share what grammatical errors irk you to no end!


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Laura on February 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Grammar nerd here! I couldn’t begin to list my pet peeves when it comes to grammar and spelling. So, I’ve devoted an entire blog to the errors made by the professional writers and editors who work for Yahoo!. The Internet giant, with hundreds of thousands of readers, is a smoldering petri dish of grammatical and factual gaffes.


    • Grammatical errors in “professionally” written material don’t just irritate me, they piss me off! I am starting to get a freelance writing/copy-editing career underway, and sometimes it’s difficult because I lack a lot of professional experience. When I read articles, books, and advertisements that are littered with errors, I think about the people getting paid for them. It baffles me.


  2. Language fascist here!
    I could list a thousand things that have driven me crazy over the years. However, the notion of language as a ‘living breathing thing that changes with time’ is correct. Therefore the use of words does change: my difficulty with this is that frequently ‘mistakes’ becomes accepted as ‘modern usage’: the error becomes the norm! Of course, with modern technology this is becoming a faster process. English is littered with words and forms derived from Latin, which were absorbed into the language over a long period of time. Texting, the Internet etc. mean that changes happen very rapidly, and a process of homogenisation is taking place. When I first came to live in Italy, people would say ‘Tutt’aposto” – meaning everything is fine. They now say ‘tutt’OK’ You see what I mean? Also a form of International English is developing. A friend from the UK recently attended an international conference where all discussion was in this ‘World-lish’. Several people said that they found him, and the US delegate the hardest to understand!
    What saddens and infuriates me is lack of respect for language, every language: whether it is UK English, US English, Italian or whatever.
    I’m glad I got that off my chest . .
    Happy Sunday!


    • Thank you for venting! I think I can respond to that quite simply with Amen!

      The “tutt’OK'” thing reminds me of a girl that used to work for me. Throughout the night I would hear her yeall, “OMG!” It drove me bonkers!


  3. I thought of another one! Wif and birfday and bafroom. Grrrrrrr! My daughter used to switch the “th” sound for an “f” sound. She was 3.


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